May 20, 2024
Congress will advance legislation supporting Israel following an attack by Iran over the weekend, top House leaders announced on Saturday. The House will adjust its previously determined schedule to include votes on legislation “that supports our ally Israel and holds Iran and its terrorist proxies accountable,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) said in a […]

Congress will advance legislation supporting Israel following an attack by Iran over the weekend, top House leaders announced on Saturday.

The House will adjust its previously determined schedule to include votes on legislation “that supports our ally Israel and holds Iran and its terrorist proxies accountable,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) said in a statement. It’s not clear what the legislation will entail, but it marks a change in course for lawmakers as they have disagreed for months on how to provide aid to Israel.

“The House of Representatives stands strongly with Israel, and there must be consequences for this unprovoked attack,” Scalise said. “More details on the legislative items to be considered will be forthcoming.”

The Senate passed legislation in February seeking to provide aid to foreign allies such as Israel and Ukraine, although the bill has been deemed “dead on arrival” in the House by top Republican leaders because of its lack of U.S. border provisions. Instead, lawmakers have sought to move forward with a different path, although no progress has been made.

However, that now may change after Iran’s attack on Saturday, which has prompted several U.S. lawmakers to share messages of support for Israel.

Tehran launched hundreds of drones and missiles from within its borders in an attack in response to an Israeli airstrike earlier this month that killed a senior military leader, according to Israel’s military. Iran’s attack is in progress as of Saturday evening.

Interceptors missiles are launched into the sky early Sunday, April 14, 2024, in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Sam Mednick)

“As Israel is under attack from Iran, we stand with Israel and its people, and the United States will do everything we can to support Israel’s defense against Iran,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who recently called for Israel to hold new elections.

Similarly, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MI), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, “This is the moment for the United States to show we stand together with our allies. Our shared enemies, including Iran and their proxies, need to know our commitment is unwavering. We must join with Israel to ensure that Iran’s aggression is met with resolute action and resounding strength.”

Iran’s attack is notable because it originated from within Iran’s borders. Iran has spent decades training and supporting various militias throughout the Middle East that it uses to attack Israel, so it doesn’t have to itself.

Its axis of militias includes Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, militias in Iraq and Syria, and the Houthis in Yemen. All of these groups have attacked Israel or U.S. interests in the Middle East since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack in Israel that prompted this war.

The U.S. has desperately sought, since October, to prevent a broader, regional conflict. But, Iran’s attack threatens to bring several other countries into this conflict. President Joe Biden urged Tehran not to carry out the attack on Friday.

“I just met with my national security team for an update on Iran’s attacks against Israel,” Biden added on X on Saturday. “Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad.”

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Several U.S. officials have publicly shared their support for Israel and said they would help defend the U.S. ally.

Israeli leaders have threatened to retaliate to an Iranian attack, though it’s unclear what a response could entail.

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